Masters Tension Evokes Memeories

Memories are funny things. They can flicker at the edge of your mind like a light bulb in the cellar. Others shine stronger than the brightest star in the sky, special moments that take your breath away out of sheer horror or sheer joy.

One of the brightest memories I have occurred in April 1996. Our family had just moved to Tasmania and Greg Norman was making Augusta National, look like the Launceston Country Club. With a 6 shot lead at the end of round 3, my father was like a child eagerly awaiting Christmas day. He gently explained to an impressionable 11 year old that no Australian had ever won the Masters, but that this was going to change. Greg Norman was finally going to win the jacket he so richly deserved. So the next morning our alarms were set and we arose early to watch the final 9 holes (as that was all that was shown at the time) only to see Norman crash and burn in the most stupendous way possible. Three straight bogies and balls into the water on another two. The Great White Shark had become the Great White Carp. Christmas didn’t come that morning.

Ever since that fateful day I have tuned into the Masters, hoping against all hope that Greg Norman’s and my father’s pain would be dulled by an Australian winning the Green Jacket. That day had never come. Tiger Woods came and went as a dominant force, Phil Mickelson seemed like the nicest man ever to win the Masters and I had fatefully been talked out of betting on Angel Cabrera at 41/1 to win it all in 2009. Every year I had hope and every year I would be down on my knees from the inevitable sucker punch. After 15 years you no longer set the alarm for 5am where the greens are so bright that burn your retinas as you watch in the dark. .

So the alarm goes off at 7.30am, this Monday is just another day. Australians were close at the end of round 3 but Rory McIlroy has a 4 shot lead. Australians don’t win this tournament. It’s almost like Augusta has another unwritten law as to who can be members of this prestigious club. No women and no Australians. This morning, this beautiful morning seems to be different. The sun is bright, McIlroy has had a Mini Norman dropping 4 strokes and 9 players are vying for the lead. Three of whom just happen to be Australian. The covers are ripped off the bed in a mad bolt for the lounge room. It seems too good to be true and in a way it is. Each of the first three shots I see are shots born of stress. Geoff Ogilvy falls short of the green on 18, Adam Scott flies it right of the Green on 15 and Jason Day finds the trees on another. It would seem that the pressure is going to be too much. No Australian wins the Masters. It doesn’t happen. Then on 16 Adam Scott puts his shot within a metre of the pin for the outright lead.

‘Do you suppose they are paying attention in Australia?’ asks the commentator. Yes, yes we are, a memory is being made and we all hold our breathe.


  1. Tim Ivins says

    Damn it. I hate the Masters.

  2. John Butler says

    Tim, Australia’a luck continues to elude. But its hard to argue with a bloke who birdies the last four holes to win.


  3. Tim Ivins says

    Couldn’t agree more, it’s just the way we keep losing that hurts.

  4. Pamela Sherpa says

    I love watching close finals and how the players handle the tension and pressure of it all. The course looks so beautiful .

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